Professional Football: Four Options Besides The NFL

Athletes, you’re sitting somewhere after your junior or senior year of playing the sport you love at the college level. The dream you always thought about came true when you committed and got to play college ball. Now you have decided to pursue the dream at the next level. Thus, you are hoping to make it to the big leagues. For baseball players, the dream is the MLB. For basketball players, the goal is the NBA and to be on the same court as the likes of Lebron James. Football players dream of professional football and the National Football League or the NFL. Playing with the likes of greats such as Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald, and Eric Berry.


The dream for college football players to become a professional football player starts with the NFL Draft and hope of being selected. So you declared, it’s draft night, and NFL teams are selecting college players from all schools. Each team’s draft picks are going by, the first, the second, and the third round have gone. Day three of the NFL Draft has ended and seven rounds of teams have selected college prospects. Your name isn’t called and now you’re waiting on a phone call, hoping to be an undrafted player that gets an NFL rookie minicamp invite. You wait for days and weeks that also doesn’t happen. The professional football dream seems like a lost cause. Well college football players, you need to know that the NFL isn’t your only option. Let’s take a look at four professional football options besides the NFL.

Arena Football League

If the NFL hasn’t called you up to play professional football and your chasing that dream, one option is the Arena Football League. The Arena Football League (AFL) is professional football that is played indoors. The AFL offers another platform to play at a high level. They also offer high payment for their football players. There are currently six teams in the AFL that an athlete could try to join including the Albany Empire, Atlantic City Blackjacks, Baltimore Brigade, Columbus Destroyers, Philadelphia Soul, and Washington Valor. If a professional football player is looking at next level options the Arena Football League could be a choice to try out for.


Canadian Football League

Going out of the United States is another option for football players who want to play professional football. The Canadian Football League (CFL) is a professional football league in Canada that has nine teams and are divided into two divisions. There are four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division. The East Division teams are the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Redblacks, and the Toronto Argonauts. The West Division teams are the BC Lions, Calgary Stampeders, Edmonton Eskimos, Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Canadian Football League plays a 21-week regular season from June to November where each team plays 18 games with three bye weeks.

The CFL has a three-week playoff leading up to their championship game. The Grey Cup is the Canadian Football League’s professional football championship game and is highly televised. The game gives a really high platform to its players and shows athletes they can have great professional football careers in the CFL. If a player is looking for high-level professional football, the Canadian Football League could be an option and a place to try out.

Semi-Professional Football

This is a smaller and more local option for athletes or football players, that’s to choose to play semi-professional football. There are semi-pro football teams all over the place and are looking for players all the time. For example, close to where I live is the semi-pro football team out of Parrish Alabama. They are called the P-Town Wreckaz and they got started playing full football seasons a few years ago. Lucky for our small community, the P-Town Wreckaz are really good with a current record of 8-1 in the conference they play in. There are plenty more semi-professional football teams in Alabama and more across the United States. If an athlete wants to play professional football, playing on this level could be an option. Help out a small, local community and team today!



The XFL is a professional football league that is planned to have its inaugural season in 2020. The old XFL had one season in 2001 where it was controlled by the World Wrestling Federation and NBC. The new XFL will have eight teams, a farm system team, will compete in a ten-week season, and a two-week post season. The new XFL has been said will not rely on professional wrestling-inspired features and entertainment elements. The XFL as a professional football league wants to create a league with fewer off the field controversies and wants faster, simpler play compared to the NFL. The teams will be in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. The XFL could be an option for professional football players needing a team to play for.

Athletes, professional football players, the NFL isn’t the only option to pursue the dream of professional football. It might be the bright lights of the National Football League and the biggest paychecks, but there are other options out there. So whether you get a call from the NFL or choose another path, achieve the dream of professional football, if that’s what you decide to do.

What do you feel is the best profession football alternate to the NFL? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Jeremy on Twitter @JeremyGrace12.

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